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Saturday, July 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Arizona Attorney General in a Political Dogfight

PHOENIX (CN) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and a business group sued the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to try to stop it from instituting a civil enforcement action against them for campaign finance violations.

Horne sued the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, County Attorney William Montgomery, the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings and Administrative Law Judge Tammy Eigenheer, in Maricopa County Court.

In a separate, similar complaint, Kathleen Winn and Business Leaders for Arizona sued the same defendants.

"The Maricopa County Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of

Investigation, conducted a lengthy investigation into allegations of coordination between the Tom Horne for Attorney General campaign and the independent expenditure committee formed to support Tom Horne's election, Business Leaders for Arizona," Horne says in his complaint.

Horne is believed to have received about $500,000 in illegal campaign contributions, raised and handled by Winn through Business Leaders for Arizona, according to Arizona news reports.

In September 2012, the Arizona Secretary of State found reasonable cause to believe that Horne and Zinn violated campaign finance laws.

Zinn says in her complaint that "if the Secretary of State finds reasonable cause that a violation has occurred, he must refer the matter to the Attorney General for a determination by that office as to whether to proceed with a civil enforcement action."

Horne and Winn say they "made a motion to Administrative Law Judge Tammy Eigenheer that the enforcement action should be dismissed because of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office."

Eigenheer granted the motion on March 19, finding "the county attorney lacked jurisdiction to enforce civil campaign finance statutes against a candidate for statewide office," Horne says in his complaint.

Defendant Montgomery rejected Eigenheer's decision on March 29, however, and ordered her to hold a hearing, scheduled for May 7.

Horne claims that Montgomery "has no jurisdiction to enforce civil campaign finance laws with respect to campaigns for statewide office; Montgomery has been a dramatic and avid advocate to the press and the public in this case, and this disqualifies him from acting as a judge in the same case; Montgomery has testified, and the parties agree, that the statute under which he has brought these charges is unconstitutional."

Horne and Zinn want the hearing enjoined and the finding of the administrative law judge upheld.

Horne is represented by Michael Kimerer with Kimerer and Derrick.

Zinn is represented by William Fischbach III with Tiffany and Bosco.

Follow @jamierossCNS
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